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Tree stand training

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Tree stand training

Postby wawhitey » 04 20, 2017 •  [Post 1]

So im just now starting the tree stand thing. Have a brand new stand sitting in an unopened box. My plan is to set it up this week here in my back yard, set up 3 or 4 targets at various distances, and practice shooting from the stand. I feel like it will increase my comfort and confidence when it counts. Does anybody else do this? Am i being weird? If you practice shooting your bow from a tree stand, do you think it has benefited your hunts? I plan on doing this in the clothing ill be hunting in too. I just want to be ready and not have some unexpected unpleasant surprise.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Brendan » 04 20, 2017 •  [Post 2]

I definitely do this. You'd also be wise to throw on the gear that you will actually use for hunting - Jacket, binoculars, safety harness, etc. Then - take steep shot at a 3D target if you have one, and then all the way out to your max range. It helps if you have someone who can pull your arrows, and send them up the tree for you on a rope so you don't have to get down every time.

First - it allows you to see where you have to aim / hold. Practice with an angle compensating rangefinder, and make sure you're hitting the spot you're aiming at for elevation. You'll see the biggest difference at close ranges.

Second - on a 3D target, you'll get used to aiming to impact high, exit low on an animal to make sure an arrow is passing through the vitals.

Third - It allows you to get used to shooting in your hunting gear. You can get some weird string contact with your clothing when you start adding in steeply angled shots if you're not careful. Not as big a deal in lighter weight early season gear, but can be in heavier insulated stuff.

I most definitely need to practice more this year myself. I hunt almost exclusively out of a tree stand here out east, consider myself "experienced" and a pretty good bow shot. Last year, I still managed to make two less than good shots that gave me a couple hour tracking job on each buck.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby adamds22 » 04 20, 2017 •  [Post 3]

Agree with everything in the last post, very important to practice if you have the time/means from a stand. I went back home (WI) to bow hunt for the first time in years last year and it was the first time I hunted out of a tree stand in probably 10-15 years and wish I would have had a chance to practice. I shot and killed a doe but the arrow placement meant for a less than ideal situation trying to follow a blood trail in a snowstorm, we ended up finding it but the shot would have been better had I practiced.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby stringunner » 04 20, 2017 •  [Post 4]

Brendan hit the nail in the head.

I would add, it's important to practice, especially steep angled shots, because the mechanics of your body need to adjust. Like you need to bend at the waist therefore keeping your upper body in good shooting form. Some will have tendency to drop their holding arm or look over the top of their peep, etc. when shooting at steep angles.

And yes shot placement is a little different as well, visualize the exit from above and you will want to aim higher in most cases. I messed this up last year on a nice buck and ended up shooting him through the armpit, flesh wound.

And absolutely shoot with your gear on. My dad made a poor shot on a bear a couple years ago because his string caught his binoculars on release, leaning forward and shooting down, things dangle different than when up right. I also wear way more clothing on stand than when I'm running and gunning or shooting in the yard in the hot summer months. Sitting still in a stand can be cold even when 50 degrees outside cause you are in the shade and not moving. So definitely practice with all the potential clothes you may wear.

Also, even when practicing at home, make sure to tie to the tree, no sense messing your body up from a fall or whatever and not being able to hunt because of a practice session.

If you don't have a tree at least get up and shoot from the top of a roof or something. My dad and I do this, he has built a platform on the peak of his shed (30 ft height or so) that we will get up on and shoot from throughout the summer. It helps.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Wahpeton » 04 21, 2017 •  [Post 5]

Everything so far in the string is spot on.

I would also suggest having your target in different positions relative to you, not always directly to your left if you are right handed. Practicing twisted up to the front of yourself or directly behind you is something I do. Being able to twist at the waist and get your torso in the right orientation to the target will give you some realistic practice, as well as shooting while seated. If something comes in and you happen to be seated, you won't want to do extra moving if you can shoot with very little motion from the seated position.

have fun.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby ishy » 04 21, 2017 •  [Post 6]

+1 on everything said. We practice 99.9% standing on flat ground. Anything to mimic real hunting situations will pay off in spades.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 04 21, 2017 •  [Post 7]

The above posts are right on. A couple of things still come to mind:

Tie off your harness above your head so that when you sit down the tether is almost snug. You want to be able to freely stand, but do not want to be able to fall far. I like to "walk out" on me platform to the end of my tether to shoot. It gives me a greater radius for effective shooting. I feel comfortable, but it helps knowing I will not fall far if I slip or anything.
Some people have a tendency to over-shoot their intended point of aim. As said above; good form is important. Just make sure you are sighting through your peep and not over it. Focus on where you want to hit. Follow through.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby ishy » 04 22, 2017 •  [Post 8]

Swede you must have a big stand, I'm not walking anywhere on mine.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 04 22, 2017 •  [Post 9]

It is a short hike to the end but I like to get out as far as reasonable so I have a lot of radius where I can shoot, and plenty of clearance from the tree. I have people complain that the elk came in from the wrong side, so they could not draw their bow. That tells me they are hugging the tree. Most likely they are nervous about going to the end of the stand platform. By stepping out to the limit, I can easily draw on critters on either side of the stand.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Wahpeton » 04 22, 2017 •  [Post 10]

I should have mentioned another "game" I play when I'm practicing. I will draw back on the target and then wait for a signal before I actually release....... We live on a somewhat active county road, so a lot of time I wait until I see a car pass on the county road before I shoot. This does a nice job of simulating an animal hanging up in a non shooting position after you are at full draw. This sort of practice has me holding for 1-5 minutes at full draw before shooting and if I can't hold that long it forces me to try a graceful let down. This practice I believe has been very valuable for whitetail hunting, hopefully it has some value for elk as well.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 04 22, 2017 •  [Post 11]

Wahpeton: Where in North Dakota did you find a tree large enough to hang a stand in? The ones I saw would bend to the ground with a person in a stand. At least you would have a short fall if you fell out. :lol:
Actually you have a good tip. I have never tried it, but I will have to come up with something similar.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Wahpeton » 04 23, 2017 •  [Post 12]

Red River Valley, south of Fargo. We have at least a couple dozen all together.
And I it's nice to be practicing on the 3D target. Too bad those elk 3D targets require a 2nd mortgage.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby wawhitey » 05 08, 2017 •  [Post 13]

Well, today i got my stand put together and hung up in the back yard here. Took longer than expected, but my dad came over and helped me out. Hes been hunting deer and elk out of treestands for 15+ years, so he really helped shorten the learning curve. Cut down a few small trees so that i could set targets up right in my yard. Put up 1 new 3d target at 20 yards broadside, straight ahead of the stand, that ill shoot standing, and ill be setting up my other one off to the left, in the timber, probably quartering away, and that target will enable me to practice shooting while sitting. Will start my tree stand shooting tomorrow.
My stand is a millennium m150. Came with a very nice life line, but im not fond of the harness that came with it. Can i get a recommendation on a good harness? Quality is more important to me than price.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 05 08, 2017 •  [Post 14]

I have a HSS vest type bow hunter harness. It is very easy to get on and off and as safe as they get. I like it much better than the ones that come with a stand as I don't have to untangle them for use. There are only two loose leg straps and no problem figuring out which goes where. The vest harness I have has been discontinued. The nearest one to it is the HSS Ultra Lite Flex. Cabelas carries this harness.
I also have a HSS safety line. The strap that attaches you to the safety line is connected by a carabineer. I hook up at the base of the tree and stay attached until I am back on the ground. When I leave the tree to go back to the truck I wear the vest with the carabineer attached, and in a side pocket. This system is safe and simple and not that expensive.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby wawhitey » 05 08, 2017 •  [Post 15]

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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 05 08, 2017 •  [Post 16]

No. Mine is similar, but has a full vest. I don't remember exactly what it was called, but I believe it was something like "Bow Hunters Vest". Let me see if I can find one on e-bay.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 05 08, 2017 •  [Post 17]

Mine is similar to the Bass Pro Tree Stalker Safety Vest offered by Bass Pro. Mine has no name on it except Hunter Safety System. It has two pockets. I see a Tree Stalker vest on e-bay for just $69.95, but it only comes in L-XL. If that fits, that could be a great deal.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby stringunner » 05 09, 2017 •  [Post 18]

I have this one. Have had it for 4-5 years. Works great:

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Hunter-S ... lsrc=aw.ds

You might also do a search "rock climbing harness for tree stand hunting". I am switching this year to a rock climbing harness. I can't reflect yet which I will prefer but I am liking the rock climbing harness so far in my practice sessions.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 05 09, 2017 •  [Post 19]

Gunner, the harness you provided a link to looks fine. Why are you going to a rock climbing harness? Are the rock climbing harnesses becoming the new fashion statement? :D
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby stringunner » 05 09, 2017 •  [Post 20]

Mostly fashion yes....can't see sitting in a tree stand for 12 hours completely out of style!!! 8-)


So far I am liking:

1) comfort of just having a harness around my waist and legs and not having anything up on and around my shoulders. This also makes it easier when putting on and off top layers.

2) I like having the tether tied at my waist and not up on my shoulders and neck. This allows me full range of motion when shooting, and I find the resistance on my waist when leaning out more comfortable than on my shoulders when shootings. The tether never gets in the way of my draw arm either.

3) I can only fall off one side of the platform in stead of two. And if I fall it is going to swing me back to a position facing the tree making it easier to self correct without having to fight getting swung around while suspended. If I fall in the rock climbing harness it will leave me facing the tree

4) climbing up and down with the prusik knot I am at wait level instead of pushing knot up over my head when trying to climb.

5) nothing extra around my shoulders and hanging forward when I'm trying to shoot steep angled shots

Cons so far:

1) not real great to try and hang stands in. Am going to use my hss ultra light harness still for this as I can "sit" back easier and work with my hands on hanging the stand and such. It's possible to do with rock climbing harness but takes more getting use to 'this year

That's it for cons so far...

I think after the season I will do a full review with pics of the new system for those interested. There is a lot of posts all over the web about it now however.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 05 09, 2017 •  [Post 21]

I have finished my yard work for today, so I have time to bother you some more. Don't worry though, I have more to do tomorrow and the next day too. Anyway, what keeps you from hanging upside down if you fall? Will you be upright or do you have to work your way around?
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby stringunner » 05 10, 2017 •  [Post 22]

I can't picture a scenario in my head or find one in videos where one would be left hanging upside down because of the harness. The tie in is in the front angled up so I imagine any fall is going to bring you right side up. I have done a ton of research on both rock climbing and hunting forums on these harnesses for treestand use and I can't find anything that suggests this to be a potential issue. Even rock climbing falls it shows guys swing back right side up because of the harness.

But I am by no means an expert either so I don't want to say that there is no possibility.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby wawhitey » 05 10, 2017 •  [Post 23]

stringunner wrote:I can't picture a scenario in my head or find one in videos where one would be left hanging upside down because of the harness. The tie in is in the front angled up so I imagine any fall is going to bring you right side up. I have done a ton of research on both rock climbing and hunting forums on these harnesses for treestand use and I can't find anything that suggests this to be a potential issue. Even rock climbing falls it shows guys swing back right side up because of the harness.

But I am by no means an expert either so I don't want to say that there is no possibility.


Only one thing to do. Set a treestand up at 30ft, hand your 9th beer of the morning to your buddy to hold, have him record you falling face first out of your stand. You know, for science. Post video here as a gear review. Bonus points for mullet and sleeveless shirt.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Brendan » 05 11, 2017 •  [Post 24]

I use a version of this (Probably same as Stringunner):

http://www.huntersafetysystem.com/ultralite-flex-1/

I prefer the most minimalistic as possible so it doesn't get in the way of pockets and such. Comes with a lineman's belt and two straps to make hanging stands easily. I also have a jacket with a harness pass-through so I can wear the harness, then put on my jacket and have complete access to all pockets.

I will say I'm intrigued by rock climbing harnesses. No reason they shouldn't work for a tree stand if they work for a rock climber...
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 05 11, 2017 •  [Post 25]

Twenty-five plus yeas ago when I bought a tree stand, it came with a safety belt. There was no harness. We put the belt around our chest, just under our armpits. If we fell, the belt being high was to ensure we ended right side up. The next evolution was a harness without the leg straps. That was better. Then they added the leg straps and that provided more security. They were so confusing you never got them untangled and stayed on the ground. I found them very safe, but since I wanted to actually go up the tree and hunt, I would cut off the leg attachments. I still have a bunch of those modified harnesses. Since I have never had any shooting problem because of my harness, I will wait and have a look at Stringunner's rock harness before I shell out any pesos for one. I am glad someone is willing to try. It may be the next breakthrough in hunting gear. Maybe not.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby stringunner » 05 11, 2017 •  [Post 26]

Swede- be prepared to have your mind blown away!!! 25 years ago the only "harness" I was wearing had only leg straps, and was for one time use (supposedly). I think the brand was Huggies Pull-Ups. :D Okay that was like 35 years ago but....

I am definitely excited to try this rock harness out. Not making any claims to it being better or worse, but intrigued nonetheless. I am into it with my new super cool and super secret tie off rope for around $85. If it works that makes it comparable or even less than tree stand harnesses.

Now I will have to do a full write up with pics I suppose after season.

Whitey- only beer 9 before noon? :lol: I will have to get to work on the mullet, probably to bald for that.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 05 11, 2017 •  [Post 27]

I used to hear about a tree stand that had you dangling from a rope. I called it a Jonnie jump Up, but you could be a pinata. It never looked comfortable or easy be get an accurate shot out of. I wonder if that rock climbing harness would have been better with that set-up? I would anticipate less tangling of lines. Maybe the guys in the Jonnie jump up did not have a separate harness, so it did not matter. Maybe you needed 9 beers before climbing into that contraption, so little matters, like safety, did not matter. Just remember 9 beers go in, and 9 beers come out. You need a good way of relieving yourself. The Jonnie jump up was not very handy for that either.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby wawhitey » 06 04, 2017 •  [Post 28]

I decided i want to keep my treestand hanging in my yard so that i could practice out of it right up until the sep 1st opener. But i also wanted to get it hung in my "A" spot early. So i did the only reasonable thing. I ordered another one. Just hung it today. Feeling very confident in my setup. Checked the cam there while i was at it. The whitetail have only started to trickle back up to this elevation in the last week or so, but ive already got a couple promising looking prospects showing up. Bad quality pic, used my phone to take a pic of my computer screen, then resized to fit 800 res.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Swede » 06 04, 2017 •  [Post 29]

The buck in the foreground looks like he had a tough winter. The other one looks like he missed a few meals too. They are probably on the way to recovery. Do you see a lot of deer in their condition in your area?
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby wawhitey » 06 04, 2017 •  [Post 30]

Yeah, pretty typical condition. It was a very rough winter, but everything is greened up big time now. Plenty of food for them, and lots of water. Plus my mineral site cant hurt. Theyll be fat and happy in no time.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Charina » 06 18, 2017 •  [Post 31]

How you liking the 150? Any issues? Wife bought me a 100u for father's day. Thinking of return to upsize to the 150.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby wawhitey » 06 18, 2017 •  [Post 32]

Well, i like it, but i really have no basis for comparison, its the only treestand ive ever been in.
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby ABQ_Chica » 07 18, 2017 •  [Post 33]

Charina wrote:How you liking the 150? Any issues? Wife bought me a 100u for father's day. Thinking of return to upsize to the 150.


What did you decide on? I love the M100u, but can see why 150 would be a better fit for some (adjustable seat height, larger platform).
Even the 100u platform is pretty big though, which is why my hunting partners call my stand the landing strip! :lol:
That said, I wish the M7 Microlite had been available when I was buying...
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Re: Tree stand training

Postby Tigger » 07 21, 2017 •  [Post 34]

I thought this thread was going to go over the finer points of training to sit in a tree stand. Like spending hours sitting in the LazEBoy.
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